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Forging a Partnership With Your Spouse in a Family Crisis

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
November 10, 2020 5:00 am

Forging a Partnership With Your Spouse in a Family Crisis

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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November 10, 2020 5:00 am

Offering encouragement to couples whose children are facing a crisis, author Elisa Morgan and her husband, Evan, describe how God and their faith have sustained them through the trials that have plagued their 40-year marriage, including their daughter's teen pregnancy and their son's drug addiction.

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Finding trust and faith building entertainment for your kids is easy with the adventures in Odyssey club.

It's an online community with almost every episode after Focus on the Family clubhouse magazine subscription AI o'clock.org/radio like all of the key parts of life in Christianity and the reality is that God embraces and joins in the parts in the here that is so true to be talking specifically about keeping your marriage strong when life is hard. This is Focus on the Family, thanks for joining us your hostess focus president and author Jim Daly and on John Fuller John when life is especially difficult as it's been this year. It's easy to let our marriages be the first thing that start to slip.

Sometimes that looks like letting our relationship with our spouse to go on autopilot and at other times we can even start to turn against her husband or wife in the midst of all the stress that stress really puts pressure on the relationship really appreciate, and I think we quoted this intermarriage. The verse in Ecclesiastes 4 that says to her better than one. If either falls down one can help the other one up right and I'm sure your marriage is imperfect but let me encourage you when things get hard.

Don't back away instead lean into your relationship. As you'll hear in the story were sharing today. If you hold tight to your faith in God. A crisis can actually make your marriage stronger than ever. Today we have a conversation that we enjoyed with Elisa and Evan Morgan. Lisa has been on the broadcast. A number of times.

This was the first time, though, that her husband Evan joined us they've been married over 40 years and have two adult children and two grandchildren. Alisa has written about their journey together.

In her book the beauty of broken my story and likely yours to. We got copies of that book, along with information about our free counseling services. Just look for the link in the episode notes go ahead and listen in now to our recorded conversation with Alisa and Evan Morgan on Focus on the Family Alisa, welcome back to focus and Evan first time yes so we want your perspective, the word and the challenge is every man's gel here. No, I really like because in telling the story.

He is integral to the whole things I want to start here Alisa because there's a great scripture that both you and I speak different venues in this one really spiritually gets me because it's there in Psalms and it says he's close, meaning God he's close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit, and it resonates with your title of your book. The beauty of broken.

I guess the question starting here is why is broken as part of our experience is that infinite question. If God is so loving and kind. Why does he want us to be broken.

How hard and going through it. It's almost impossible to understand how our loving God can allow pain in our lives, getting beyond it makes a little bit more sense that what I experience is that I have had a kind of an idealism about walking with God that if I just need Jesus. You know I have the answer to do in life in a better way and the reality is that when we know Jesus were invited into a journey where he lovingly pulls us towards himself, but that means that things around us, and ourselves as well may break. He himself broke might be in an intimate relationship with us right think of that in his anguish on the cross with his father accusing actually think that Isaiah 53 think it's verse five. By his wounds were healed and that really means black and blue marks that that's broken blood vessels. We like all of the key parts of life in Christianity and the reality is that God embraces and joins us in the icky parts in here yeah I so appreciate. I guess what we might call the metanarrative there. I feel like it's a good place to start in terms of that question, but rolling back now, let's go back to the college class were new to Matt. This is so funny. I love this because you're trying to concentrate. I'm trying to concentrate Evan, who you don't even know it is interrupting you so annoying that I haven't heard of the book boundaries.

You sounded like most guys will throw boundaries out there seminary class of warm-blooded women in the Old Testament class is so cute girls living there about. While there's a chair next to her. She didn't want to be interrupted though because she was studying for Greek yeah concentration for me was that transaction. Like the first one will Lisa writes in the book.

I literally asked her about four questions that I got one word answers and you wouldn't even look at me and finally she looked up. We disconnected the horizon that we are as mad as the eyewitnesses I looked up as a problem but that was the beginning and we started dating and we were we were engaged.

Three months later and that is is that's what Greek will do for me is a great class.

Hey, you know, that moment is so fun to talk to newlyweds or engaged couples because there's so much enthusiasm and you know after married a few years, that enthusiasm can rollover but how do we keep healthy enthusiasm going because all the science and biological science that supports us infatuation that Google yard playing whatever you want to call the tingles, last year or two with marriage and then that can begin to fade. What needs to replace that one does it look like you I think everybody's different every relationship and marriage is different for us. It has been doing life together and by that I do not mean playing golf together. I know what I mean is really caring about where each other is invested and join in their summit. We talk every day, even in all the years where maybe one of us is been traveling, or one of us is been focused in or out of the home.

We talk every day. They said that like a surprise. Is that normal or do many couples not talk. I'm not living in everybody else is actually well that being the president of mops for many years you have heard from women who were lonely we blow intimacy up into this googly I think.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that just talking counts. That is the right way to stay connected because when Evan shared with me what he's really going through and I'm showing I'm really going through. That's intimacy that really is the whole thing is something called me Evan and I wanted your perspective. You are the CFO.

I think of the University of Denver some similar so not only did you meet your wife their creaky became the CFO the same university run insider is pretty funny. But, and I don't mean this in a negative way, but being a CFO, your it sounds like your numbers guy you can be probably pretty compartmentalized with a lot of us men suffer from and you go about your day and I'll tell you I love you know 14 times with you not getting 15 out of me via right. How do you combat that is a compartmentalized mail. Had you step out sick. I need this I need to talk to Lisa talking a lot of guys that are connecting with what I'm saying they're going, that's me. Yeah, I think when we were going through a lot of the crisis we're going through that part of my personality organize. My dad was an engineer civil engineer and select villages but II that help in terms of the organizational side but the intimacy side comes off into going through the struggles that we come together and it's a different type of intimacy that maybe people think about but there's a sense in which we cannot survive this must work hand-in-hand in determining that means a lot of communication to well yeah communication that I guess it's a critical point. I think for men and what is really good for women to hear. Is it can be both your strength that those qualities that he possesses that steadfastness, but then also that communicate with me.

Talk to me and so many women are longing for both men struggle to deliver on that second intimacy level of talk with me. Just don't be my rock speak to my heart and it's easy to retreat. I think that way too, is a site where you got it covered in your the communicator and so I can just retreat and allow you to handle some of this in the egg and we haven't even really unfold the story, so let's go there early so that speak to your family of origin those things that were so difficult what you talk about in your great book. The beauty of broken give us that picture church I come from a broken family. My parents were divorced when I was five and then later as I grew up in a single mom family realize my mom was broken through alcoholism so broken to divorce broken through alcoholism and for me when I found out that Jesus left me was I glommed onto that in such a tangible way. However, you will like you.

God growing up because I'm on the drop us off at church. It is so supersmart she had two hours for he is a thinking why do most of our parents, we have that story they would drop this genius anyway so I grew up knowing God. But then I discovered him differently as a teen I discovered Jesus as a teen, actually through the ministry of young life and when I found out that Jesus was really the real deal that will now I've got every answer could ever want. I may have come from a broken family that I determined I was can it build a perfectly intact. Second family okay so that was your goal when you're coming from kind of a bit of an opposite, but I know when I speak often, as the audience anybody from a perfect family.

I haven't seen in handle actually one time I did, I said but you gotta have an uncle and you were perhaps healthier but describe your growing up years, and it was weird opposite ends potentially as it grew up in a Christian home and say the Killingly say that I have Micro Center with my oatmeal was part of that I was part of the family dynamics, but like most my dad was military guy Lieut. Col. engineers I mentioned, and so things were just kinda regimented around the house. Not a lot of times I can recall.

Maybe not even one of the really close father-son kind of relationship and mentoring her wisdom and so I later developed relationships with two other men that just became very instrumental to me but that was a different site so we meet this summer like low no in the first couple years of marriage. Yeah, and we quickly so you get therapy and figure out how to do this and try to different your talk yeah this is a clash points you described that the first couple years. What were some of those friction points that you encounter several of them. I mean I was not a quote typical stay-at-home mom will back up. We knew we couldn't have children biologically okay right right you know in the book you painted this picture so well emotionally.

It really caught my attention where you get married and you set up the nursery thinking adoption would be quick and right there and years, you know, three, four, five years go by typing dilated to nine for like five year right in the dust collecting painful and really sending the their women hearing this and are starting to tear as they are living in others a day goes by so you speak to that motion and what you're going through, and then the joy that okay something so we are waiting for children and I'm working full time at Medina women at a Bible college.

Evan is CFO with it.

She wonders where high achievers part of the story to and so we are waiting and waiting and waiting and truly as I waited and waited. I had this idea is to give the child the perfect family. Evan had this idea for different reasons and to synthesize praying one night that God was saying to me, Lisa. By the time this baby whoever it is to be placed in your arms. Here she will already experience the greatest wound of their life like what make up for that.

He knows what I'm thinking inside myself.

I truly didn't understand a bit but were story is that around. After about five years of marriage. We do become parents. First of a little baby girl who was just three weeks old and then I little baby boy. Two years later it was Stan and Finn as well and we. Curiously, when Jesus all over it for many years and then in the teen years. We watched our family fall and break and that's what Evans talking that to about that what we had to figure this out fall and break in ways that stand us.

Yeah, we want to you know get into that there's against so many people and I appreciate your vulnerability. That's one of your great qualities both as a couple, but the lease is running mops that that's what I think endeared people to your leadership, especially the women that were feeling are going through things like you've gone through none of us know we always think the other person doesn't. God gives babies every time the people of never been parents before.

I don't know what he's thinking, correct, and so again I think you can feel these words going out through the podcast to the radio program reported to be touch and people living in that space for your daughter 16. What happened well.

It's a really weird series of events. She… Beautiful 5 foot seven state ranked swimmer who had just returned from a missions trip with church to serve HIV AIDS orphans in Kenya check that everything working well.

Looking at doing good. A lot of drag on me and we feel like the other boys get mentally proud.

You know I'm not trying to honor roll student. I believe in your close doing really good and I actually had a dream and in the dream really weird. I was in a home that was under construction and I was walking through it and Jesus was my tour guide hardhat on this bizarre and he stopped at these two rooms that were adjacent to each other and he cozily said this, but it's for your daughter and listens for the baby.

I went and I woke up and I shook that puppy off. I'm not kidding a couple nights later, the dream repeated itself. This home goodness under construction in scaffolding.

Same thing. This rooms for your daughter. This rooms the baby and a few days later I'm mops around a conference table and this group of people is planning the future of what would be called teen mops for teenagers who were becoming pregnant and I since the Holy Spirit saying to me only see you're going to know more about this than anybody in the room while I am like to go home and ask my beautiful daughter is there any way you could be pregnant and she nods and I went and got a pregnancy test me never before. Pregnant me.

I went to the store and got one and I sit outside the bathroom door will my daughter Pete on a stick and found out yes she's pregnant and Evan is traveling and I call my dear precious husband and tell him it's news we never ever ever dreamed we would hear and I'm president of mops in the process. That whole connection that's what's difficult. It's the image that's what will people think. Not that you I don't feel like you're person that puts too much weight on that everybody does you get up in front of people and I never did pretend as you saying Jim that I had it all together. I got called me onto the platform of vulnerability going. I don't know what I'm doing either. Let's gather that there is a huge shaman for me being sandwiched between my mom who had so many struggles and then myself was the perfect mom and in my daughter, who suddenly fell in broke I realized I needed to work through my expectations for her and my definition of who I was as my children would be the report card of my performance. I had some work to do before you figure that out to get you in a minute Evan, how you respond as dad that's really important.

But your upbringing triggered. Can you get involved to control. Let's make this happen. I can relate to that, growing up in an alcoholic home as well.

You become intensely responsible and is that what happened, for surely I would vacuum our house growing up and empty all the ashtrays and you know get all the Moment out of the corners and the naughty pine plank that I did that all growing up. So when my daughter became pregnant. I went into high fix-it mode describe what that looked like the site standing in front of her body at target. When a neighbor walks by as if my 5 foot three 105 pound frame can hide my daughter's butting pregnancy that I wanted to fix it. I wanted to hide it.

I wanted to change it.

We withdrew her from school. We homeschooled her.

We wanted to support her. She made the decision of what she would how she would parent or not parent. This child, and she made the decision at the end to relinquish, but we were there to help her throughout the math and how much would she have to make to support this child. How long would she have to live with us.

It was just dramatic, but in the process, and this goes back to earlier parts of our conversation. I should finish off Devon back into the back bedroom to watch golf thinking I can do this.

This is my job. Continuing on them specifically in your marriage. Let's bring that facet into this your son also. Later, he adopted a son.

He had some difficulty to.

But how in marriage.

To that impact you have children struggling with that due to your relationship and what warning do you have for us things that happen is that when our daughter gave birth she gave birth extremely prematurely and in that moment Evan and I had to divide. I had to stay with her and Evan went with the new baby because there were no adoptive parents, yet identified and that that's really what has shaped us a lot if I understood more of my need for Evan.

I couldn't be the fix-it for everything I needed him. What he brought was different, but he brought it there's one story you tell Honey about the night you can sleep and how much it affected how we both looked at the whole process of both of our children. It was during the midst of this I was one of those times were just wondering you borderline between Ingrid God and questioning it literally was just making lapse in our house between the living room and the kitchen and the dining room and literally for couple hours and I wasn't my best spiritual moment is God, what are you in the midst of this.

Both tubes struggling.

I just kept asking what you want me to see her God and I just felt drawn to sit on our bay window and looked up at the sky, the stars and you know I'm looking up CLU Majesty great God, you created all this oppression of been vaporous. This is my to send out this you see your majestic and I've always been sort of love looking at the stars. But after literally about half an hour just bearing on this beautiful, cloudless night here in Colorado you can see the stars relive focus on the Orion's belt. Those three perfectly aligned stars in the sky thinking you know I don't know much about stars but I'm guessing of those stars are millions of light years apart right in a fire in the spaceship circling around one of those stars I would have no idea that there's two other stars that are perfectly aligned with this one, and they are aligned at all from when the closer you get right and I just hear God saying to me exactly said, take a seat here in the celestial throne for a moment where I sit. Everything lines up and it's just been one of the most incredible spiritual moment for me to say we trust God that he is sovereign but he understands anything that looks messed up right here perfectly lines in his ultimate purposes, and plans for us. So now I go out almost every night on to pray and offer Orion's belt. It's my Princess respect, but it is the most difficult thing and I would assume the Scripture that really illuminates that not to keep the star thing going here but know this idea that all things work for good to those who love the Lord and are called by his name, but it's hard to believe that when you're in it because it's painful. At least I've often wondered about a book title written by woman because a man cannot write this book but it's almost the curse of Eve fear and control, and you know you men can have those same attributes.

I get that but I think women, particularly moms struggle in that area because of that fear they have that their kids won't turn out the way they expect and then you compensate by over controlling the situation which generally pushes the child right into the danger zone because they're trying to become independent. How would you respond to that. That is, I think you hit the nail on the head.

You know, we men and women you know have certain deficiencies because of our fallen state, and for a woman.

Often it is this kind of fear. This kind of him to take charge and not every single one of us that a lot of us do.

And I think the understanding that God loves her children more than us. I remember sitting in church when my son was far, far away, and there was a toddler sitting next to me this little tells you neither like school straight out on the PC and his eyes looked at hotels and I remembered back to when my son was a toddler.

I just was looking at his feet.

Jesus, I have no idea where those grown in size 13 feet are today and I since the Lord, going remember remember my interaction about Daniel.

I saw him under a tree. This is in one of the Gospels.

Any because I know where he is right now and it was such a comfort to me. There is a reality they were not parenting alone even for single some of us have a marriage and a partner in parenting, some of us who are separated from our spouse or our partners still have that other partner involved with the children. But some of us are on our own parenting and the realities is because not, leave us alone in the process. He does know where that child is he sees them and we need to recognize that he does right and you're ending on the right tone here that God sees you, and God knows you for the listener.

Let's skip ahead a bit. How are you kids doing now. So today, both her kids are married. Our daughter has two children that you know are hers with foster grandchild in terms of death, and we've also lost one in terms of relinquishment, but we are whole and intact. If you will say is that were still an estimate.

If you like pulled our family out of the oven and put a toothpick in us and still is a little doing the middle self life doesn't ever get wrapped up with a bow and I've come to really value what I call broken family values that that's really what God's heart is been about shaping us must been written Scripture most the families of not every family and there's a broken family must speak to the couple who still in the trenches of a crisis with their children right now. Maybe that's why they tuned in thinking you know, maybe focus will speak to me today what can they do to establish the partnership with their spouse to get through these hard times. Remember friend of mine saying this helps nothing saying just realize that 93%, statistically, these kids will be okay okay I think first of all, just to say some of our well-meaning advice doesn't mean a lot wording of the throes of this level of just gut wrenching pain. I just remember the little I remember falling down on my knees and was in the showers. After it had to send my son to try to get some help away and I just know if was right decision. I just fell on my knees. There's really nothing that you can do at that point is, except if you can come back to the sense of trust the Orion's belt moment. However, God brings that into your life just to say God's got this I see you I know where he is. That's what I can. All I can bring to that moment because a lot of times the formulaic answers for someone in the midst of that for me was not helpful at all… I'm still hurting. I'm still down on my knees sobbing, but I do know in that moment. There's somebody that cares much more about this child and I do and that you do Jesus and so that's what I have to encourage people just come back to fall on the news of trust is so good, so good. And again, much more that we've left on the table here, but I encourage you to listener if you're in that spot were here and Elise and Evan have buried your heart for you today. This is what we in the Christian community called testimony and this is meant as God's story in their lives to help you and yours. And if you're struggling. If you are suffering not only in your marriage but in your parenting. Call us today. Let us be there for you with caring Christian counselors who can help. We have referrals. Most likely was somebody in your area who you can continue that discussion with we have marriage intensive's with hope restored. We have a plethora of resources that can help you but you've gotta take the first step. You gotta make that phone call and reach out to us and I do hope you'll call our number is 880, family, and we do of course recommend you get a copy of the leases book the beauty of broken my story and likely yours too. It's the kind of book for can really help you in your healing and if you would please gift of any amount today to focus on and say thank you for joining the support team being a part of this by sending a copy of the beginner number is 800-232-6459 or click the link shown on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Life is fragile in the old West trust in God reliance on prayer and the love of family were necessities for a perilous journey and that's still true today.

Artist Morgan Wiseman captures these timeless themes in his new special edition sign giclée from Focus on the Family. Morgan calls it a prayer for new life, a reminder of the sanctity of life in the harsh environments of this world will find a special place in your home for a limited time you can get this special edition print@focusonthefamily.com/prayer for life


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